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Banda Mask

Arts of Africa

This mask combines human features and those of a crocodile or shark with teeth bared. It has the tail of a chameleon, the horns and ears of an antelope, and features of less identifiable animals. Worn horizontally on top of the head, the mask is attached to a skirt of vegetal fibers that covers the body of the wearer. Banda masks were the property of the Simo men’s society, which historically oversaw and regulated fertility and initiation ceremonies. Today it is danced primarily for entertainment.
CULTURES Nalu or Baga
MEDIUM Wood, metal, pigment
  • Place Made: Guinea
  • DATES late 19th or early 20th century
    DIMENSIONS 61 1/2 x 15 3/4 x 15 3/8 in. (156.0 x 40.0 x 39.0 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    CREDIT LINE Caroline A.L. Pratt Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Mask, Banda type, anthropomorphic face, large nose, series of 2 crests up middle of forehead, upper one largest, bisects domed cranium, ridged horns extend up and curve slightly inward from above animal-like ears, an open work spiral - starting from back of head - loops around a long ovoid ring starting also above ears. Mouth is cut with teeth both sides, but this is covered by a piece of sheet metal cut open in herring-bone-like pattern. Surfaces are decorated with geometric motifs or stylized designs representing human features, in sunk or raised relief, and incising also used. Mask polychromed white, red, blue, black.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Nalu. Banda Mask, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, metal, pigment, 61 1/2 x 15 3/4 x 15 3/8 in. (156.0 x 40.0 x 39.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Caroline A.L. Pratt Fund, 58.7. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 58.7_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 58.7_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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